Christ Church poised to regain head titleBy Jim Railton
Christ Church, with four Blues, are strong favourites for the head title in the Oxford summer eights, which start today. The head crew, Keble, are well below the strength they have been able to muster in recent years.
Christ Church, who were deposed by Keble on the last day of the competition last year, should take their revenge today and hold off all other challengers throughout the competition. The new Oxford President, David Sawyier, anchors the Christ Church crew at six, with the Blues Nevin (stroke), Westlake and Bolshaw giving muscle to the crew.
Keble suffered a bad blow on Friday with the withdrawal of the 1972 Oxford stroke, Michael Baines, through injury. Apart from Hunt, a 1972 Blue, the remainder of the Keble crew are relatively inexperienced. By Thursday, Keble are likely to find Oriel snapping at their heels, and if Keble succumb, other challengers could send the head crew farther down the chart.
The Wadham crew, stroked from bowside by Milman, look capable of challenging Balliol for a place in the first five, with University College and Oriel likely to be locked in combat today over the full course to decide who will take the second bite at Keble.
The tail of the first division, too, promises some action with Worcester, St Edmund Hall, and Magdalen bristling with enough ambition to make the Jesus eight and St John's fell insecure.
Five of top division surrenderBy Jim Railton
Keble, despite a last minute reshuffle in their crew and a change in rig, were unable to hold off the predictably strong challenge from Christ Church in the opening day of the Oxford summer eights yesterday.
The Keble crew, who started Head, were overhauled after reaching the Gut, which was the scene of most of the first division action yesterday. Altogether, five first division crews surrendered, leaving only Oriel, Wadham and Lincoln to row over in the top division.
Keble face a second onslaught today from Oriel, who were fast off the start in yesterday's race, and claimed to be half a length up on Christ Church when the House took Keble's scalp.
Oriel earn chance to challenge leadersBy Jim Railton
Keble, who started head crew on Wednesday in the Oxford summer eights, took a second step down the ladder yesterday when they were overhauled by Oriel. The Keble eight succumbed before the Gap [? presumably Gut] was reached, allowing Oriel to take a crack today at Christ Church to challenge for the headship.
But Oriel will have to draw deeply on the spiritual strength with which they are obviously endowed to catch Christ Church. Oriel include, among their three coaches, the Lord Bishop of Buckingham, but, in spite of the faith they have in themselves, they are unlikely to find Christ Church in charitable mood today.
It seems sad that Keble are unable to include the Blue Steve Irving in their crew. Irving, a member of the national party is under the impression that he is not eligible for his college eight. This would seem an obvious case for relaxing restrictions on national squad oarsmen which bars them from competing outside the squad's programme. Keble are likely to be caught today by Balliol, who rowed over yesterday.
Other bumps in the first division yesterday were made by Wadham, Magdalen and Worcester at the expense of University College, Queen's and St John's. Magdalen look capable of continuing their phenomenal rise over the last two years with the Jesus eight firmly in their sights today.
Christ Church's power should assure headshipBy Jim Railton
The die must surely be cast for the headship in the Oxford Summer Eights, which end today. Christ Church, who took the lead from Keble within a few minutes on the opening day, held off yesterday's challenge from Oriel, just keeping their station distance.
Oriel, with only two changes from last year's crew, who reached the semi-final round of the Ladies' at Henley, seemed to just lack the necessary power to usurp the Christ Church eight. Stroked by the lightweight Isis oarsman, Harris, Oriel are extremely quick off the mark but the flame within them began to flicker yesterday down the long final straight where Christ Church underrated them.
Christ Church, on the other hand, with the American Olympic finallist Sawyier at six and three other Blues aboard, have the necessary horsepower to win the competition. Any tendancies, in fact, within the Christ Church eight to rest on laurels not yet quite achieved, will not last long with Sawyier in the boat.
.. But the weekend has been one of inevitable contrasts. Within a few hours I was transported from the gay and colourful scene of the Oxford Summer Eights to the drab Mühlauhafen course — a dock pinched between the Rhine and the Neckar...
Return to Bumps Index